GORKHA, Sept 12: For the people residing in the remote parts of northern Gorkha, it is easier to reach Tibetan market than the district headquarters. That is why they eagerly wait for the border to open once a year so that they can import food items in bulk that would suffice for some months.
Ever since the trade route to Tibet through Ngula Pass opened from August 25, locals of northern Gorkha have been purchasing stocks of foods, including salt, sugar, ghee and rice from the Tibetan market. A long queue of locals can be observed passing through the route ever since the trade route opened. Lho, Prok, Chempakar, Samagaun among others rely on Tibetan market.
“The route stays open only for a month. If we don't bring essentials within the duration, we will not have enough food stocks to last throughout the year,” said Mingmar Lama, a local. Locals residing in the upper areas of Chumnubri Rural Municipality use as much as 80 percent of their total year's earnings to purchase the necessities in one month when the trade route opens.
The Tibetan market is preferred over the district headquarters due to easier access. While it takes about five to seven days on foot to reach the district headquarters, the Tibetan market can be reached in just two days when Ngula Pass opens. That is why the locals rush to the Tibetan market carrying money, ropes, bamboo basket and transportation means such as horses, mules and yaks.
Lama, who also runs a hotel, said, “Locals spend at least Rs 50,000 in purchasing food items. Traders and businessmen purchase foods and other necessities worth about a million rupees or more.”
According to Dhan Bahadur Gurung, chief of Chumnubri Rural Municipality, locals are forced buy food items due to lack of arable lands to produce their own foods.
The Chinese government opens its market for the people of Nepal for a limited period every year in this region.